The MINI Clubman, originally re-released in 2007, has become a unique entry in MINI's now perfectly formed model lineup.
One of the smallest estate vehicles on sale in Britain, the Clubman's history dates back to original estates and car-van conversions that began life in the 1950s.
The current MINI Clubman is a modern take on a British classic, yet has an upmarket feeling to it and the kind of fun driving dynamics that are only available from a MINI. So where did it all start?
The original Mini was first launched in 1959 and was a revolution in small car production. The Mini had a unique transverse engine front-wheel drive layout which was excellent for space saving. In fact, the Morris Mini Minor had around 80% of its floor plan available for passengers and storage, setting benchmarks for the next decade of car manufacturers.
A combination of practicality, low cost and that cheeky Mini styling meant that the Morris Mini Minor was soon a hit. It was driven by everyone from Paul McCartney to Steve McQueen - and production of the original design continued until 2000.
It wasn't long before this spacious yet compact layout was put to use in the Mini Van in 1959, using a longer chassis for even more storage space. The van was incredibly popular as a low-cost commercial vehicle which was actually free from road tax.
MINI actually revived the van derivative in 2013, introducing the Clubvan to the world at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was a quirky little model and was a useful tool for making inner-city deliveries, and while sales weren't huge, you can still find quite a few examples around on the used van market.
MINI Traveller and Countryman
The Mini design was so versatile that extra seats were added, along with rear windows and styling touches from the hatchback. The result was a compact car with true practicality and load-lugging ability. The Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman were born.
The Mini Traveller was designed as the ultimate family vehicle, with room for a family of four and all their luggage, and found favour with those who were part of the camping and caravanning boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
There were several variations on the design over the next nine years of production, including the famous 'woody' models which incorporated wooden beams in to the construction of the car. In 1969, after around 207,000 Traveller and Countryman models were built, the line was discontinued and superseded by the MINI Clubman Estate.
MINI Clubman Estate
The Clubman Estate was a MINI model in its own right, first produced by British Leyland in 1969. It continued in production through to 1982, after three model revisions. This new Clubman model was much larger than its predecessor, offering more practicality than ever before.
The entire Clubman range was treated to updated, upmarket styling from designer Roy Haynes, including the estate which received a bolder, squarer look.
Production of the estate continued alongside the updated Mini Mk IV until the design was phased out in 1982. It was still an extremely popular model even towards the end of its life, and in total just under 200,000 units were sold of the Clubman Estate.
2007 MINI Clubman
The estate version of the Mini was in hiatus for over 25 years, until the Clubman name was revived in 2007 for an all-new car. Much like the original, the new MINI Clubman featured the lengthened body of the standard hatchback, and a 'barn-door' twin side-opening tailgate for super easy loading access.
A real blast from the past but full of new features and powerful, turbocharged engines such as that in the Cooper S, the new Clubman introduced an entirely new generation to the MINI estate.
In a world where individualism is hard to come by, the Clubman was unique in every sense of the word. It remained as practical as ever before, and is still the ultimate choice of MINI for families always on the go. In fact, the Clubman has almost 40% extra cargo room over the MINI hatchback of the same era, as well as the ability to seat a family of five.
Current MINI Clubman
The current version of the MINI Clubman is a true premium five seat vehicle. A new, elegant silhouette with sleek lines are almost concept-car in the nature of its design, yet it still retains that classic MINI character.
It's a lot more practical than the previous generation Clubman, with four full size doors and a much larger boot - it's quite a bit longer than even the 5-door hatchback.
Preserving the characterful split rear doors, the MINI Clubman is more practical than ever before, with a boot volume of 360-litres (more than enough for a dog or two) and four full-sized doors for excellent accessibility and usability - it's perfect for families of four or five.
It's fun to drive, comfortable and more refined than hatchback models too, while standard equipment is very generous indeed.
The fact that it retains the classic MINI styling and even the twin-door rear tailgate reminds us that MINI is a brand not just focused on producing fun to drive and practical vehicles that fit in with modern lifestyles, it maintains its connection with the past and never forgets its heritage.
At Stratstone, we offer sales of both brand new and approved pre-owned MINI Clubman models through our network of MINI dealerships throughout the Midlands and North of England. Use the buttons below to start your search for your new MINI Clubman.